Republican President-elect Donald Trump rolled into a big electoral win by carrying crucial swing states like Ohio. Trump won the Buckeye State despite many obstacles.
There was a sense of nervous anticipation floating around Capitol Square where Republicans were split among three different election watch parties. But once Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump took Ohio, the momentum started rolling his way nationwide, and his supporters were ready to party.
One-by-one cable news networks rattled off projected wins for Trump and each time the crowd grew louder and more ecstatic.
Trump’s Ohio Campaign Director Bob Paduchik says the real estate mogul turned politician rewrote the book on how to rally voters in the state.
“It’s nothing short of a phenomena. It’s more a movement than a political campaign. I think a lot of political science disertations are going to be written about the 2016 election cycle and I think people are going to learn some new lessons.”
Up the road about a block away from the Trump party, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges made a somewhat anti-climactic, one-sentence announcement.
“I just wanted to report that a few minutes ago I called Donald Trump and congratulated him on winning Ohio,” said Borges.
That was it.
It’s no secret that there’s a clear division among Trump supporters and the state’s top Republican leaders. It started with Gov. John Kasich refusing to endorse the nominee. Though U.S. Sen. Rob Portman did endorse him at first, he later reversed that decision. Borges also wavered but eventually announced he was still standing behind the nominee.
What’s not clear is where the Ohio Republican Party goes from here.
Republican Representative Andrew Brenner of Delaware was one of the first legislators to fully back Trump after he won the nomination. Brenner believes unity among the party can be achieved.
“I think they’re going to pull back together I mean they’re gonna have to the Republicans in the Republican primary they spoke now here in Ohio in the General Election with a clear majority I think that this is something where we’ll come back and it may take a little bit of time but I think it’ll happen,” Brenner said.
As fractured as the Republican Party may be in Ohio, the Democrats will likely go through a much worse post-election phase. Ohio Democrats have had years of big losses going back to the 2010 sweep of statewide offices.
When the state was called for Trump but before he won nationwide, Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper didn’t sugar coat the position his party was in.
“We’re going to have to do a lot of soul searching by what may happen tonight we’re going to have a lot of work to do it may call on us to be stronger and tougher than we’ve ever been if Mr. Trump is actually elected president,” Pepper said.
Ohio’s role in this year’s presidential race seemed to be diminishing about a month ago but the contest remained close until Election Day. Paduchik says this proves the saying, as Ohio goes so goes the nation.
“Ohio’s a microcosm of the nation if you can win well in Ohio it’s like campaigning in a state of city states so if you can do well here you’re doing well in other parts of the nation and that’s why Ohio will always be a bellwether state,” Paduchik said.
Inside Trump’s election watch party, supporters begin to talk about the impact Trump’s presidency will have on statewide issues, such as how his stance against the Clean Power Plan and ObamaCare could impact Ohio’s green energy standards and Medicaid expansion.